An infant fell into an open manhole and died here on Saturday. The deceased has been identified as Anish, a resident of Golden Avenue Colony of ward number 39.
The incident shows the sheer apathy of the municipal corporation (MC) maintenance of civic infrastructure, endangering the lives of people in the process.
Even though the incident could have taken place anywhere, the death of the child in Golden Avenue Colony has put the issue of illegal colonies and the MC’s shoddy work in tightening the noose around illegal colonies in the city into focus. The situation is such that officials are not even aware of the status of colonies, as to whether they are regularised or not.
As per information, no proper record of illegal colonies is being maintained by the civic authorities. Officials said the Golden Avenue Colony, built about 35 years ago, was not regularised.
Interestingly, even after a day of the incident, the MC authorities are yet to check the records of the coloniser of the area.
“We have not yet checked the documents of the coloniser. We are yet to check whether the coloniser even applied for the regularisation of the colony or not. After going through all the details, we will take action against those responsible for such negligence,” said mayor Sunil Jyoti.
“If any discrepancies are found on the part of the MC, we will take strict action against the concerned officer,” he further added.
Meanwhile, Jaspal Kaur Nagra, the councilor of the area, was also unsure about the status of regularization of the colony.
“The colony was built many years ago, but I am not sure whether the colony is regularised or not,” said the councillor.
Meanwhile, the local residents said they had approached the councillor about the regularisation of the colony many times but their complaints fell on deaf ears. Nagra refuted the allegations.
“It’s an illegal colony and the problems regarding such areas do not come under our purview. We will soon take appropriate action,” said Lakhwinder Singh, MC superintendent engineer (operations and maintenance).
As per the police report, the open manhole at the corner of a road in the area, in which the infant fell, is partially covered with grass. Even the residents of the colony did not have any clue that it was an open manhole.
“We can’t arrive at any conclusion and squarely blame someone for the incident at the preliminary stage of the investigation. We will definitely take action against the culprit responsible for such negligence,” said station house officer of police station-1, Balvir Singh.
A case has been registered under section 174 of the code of criminal procedure.
Anish was playing outside with other children at the time of the incident on Saturday evening.
His father works as a labourer in a die factory based at Maqsudan. The family hails from Himachal Pradesh.